Know : FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Facts

Totally 204 Countries across the world aimed for a spot to play the FIFA World Cup 2014, played 820 matches and scored 2350 Goals! Finally 32 countries made it to the Group Stages! No Wonder why Football has more fans around the globe.

 Group A
Brazil
Croatia
Mexico
Cameroon
 Group B
Spain
Netherlands
Chile
Australia
 Group C
Colombia
Greece
Côte d’Ivoire
Japan
 Group D
Uruguay
Costa Rica
England
Italy
 Group E
Switzerland
Ecuador
France
Honduras
 Group F
Argentina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Iran
Nigeria
 Group G
Germany
Portugal
Ghana
USA
 Group H
Belgium
Algeria
Russia
Korea Republic

Qualifiers

Continent wise Qualified / Unqualified Teams

(Click on the link of the countries for more details)

AFRICA

QUALIFIED TEAMS (5)

  1. AlgeriaAlgeria
  2. CameroonCameroon
  3. Côte d'IvoireCôte d’Ivoire
  4. GhanaGhana
  5. NigeriaNigeria

NOT QUALIFIED TEAMS (47)

  1. AngolaAngola
  2. BeninBenin
  3. BotswanaBotswana
  4. Burkina FasoBurkina Faso
  5. BurundiBurundi
  6. Cape Verde IslandsCape Verde Islands
  7. Central African RepublicCentral African Republic
  8. ChadChad
  9. ComorosComoros
  10. CongoCongo
  11. Congo DRCongo DR
  12. DjiboutiDjibouti
  13. EgyptEgypt
  14. Equatorial GuineaEquatorial Guinea
  15. EritreaEritrea
  16. EthiopiaEthiopia
  17. GabonGabon
  18. GambiaGambia
  19. GuineaGuinea
  20. Guinea-BissauGuinea-Bissau
  21. KenyaKenya
  22. LesothoLesotho
  23. LiberiaLiberia
  24. LibyaLibya
  25. MadagascarMadagascar
  26. MalawiMalawi
  27. MaliMali
  28. MauritiusMauritius
  29. MoroccoMorocco
  30. MozambiqueMozambique
  31. NamibiaNamibia
  32. NigerNiger
  33. RwandaRwanda
  34. Sao Tome e Principe Sao Tome e Principe
  35. SenegalSenegal
  36. SeychellesSeychelles
  37. Sierra LeoneSierra Leone
  38. SomaliaSomalia
  39. South AfricaSouth Africa
  40. SudanSudan
  41. SwazilandSwaziland
  42. TanzaniaTanzania
  43. TogoTogo
  44. TunisiaTunisia
  45. UgandaUganda
  46. ZambiaZambia
  47. ZimbabweZimbabwe


ASIA

QUALIFIED TEAMS (4)

  1. AustraliaAustralia
  2. IranIran
  3. JapanJapan
  4. Korea RepublicKorea Republic

NOT QUALIFIED TEAMS (39)

  1. AfghanistanAfghanistan
  2. BahrainBahrain
  3. BangladeshBangladesh
  4. CambodiaCambodia
  5. China PRChina PR
  6. Chinese TaipeiChinese Taipei
  7. Hong KongHong Kong
  8. IndiaIndia
  9. IndonesiaIndonesia
  10. IraqIraq
  11. JordanJordan
  12. Korea DPRKorea DPR
  13. KuwaitKuwait
  14. KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan
  15. LaosLaos
  16. LebanonLebanon
  17. MacauMacau
  18. MalaysiaMalaysia
  19. MaldivesMaldives
  20. MongoliaMongolia
  21. MyanmarMyanmar
  22. NepalNepal
  23. OmanOman
  24. PakistanPakistan
  25. PalestinePalestine
  26. PhilippinesPhilippines
  27. QatarQatar
  28. Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
  29. SingaporeSingapore
  30. Sri LankaSri Lanka
  31. SyriaSyria
  32. TajikistanTajikistan
  33. ThailandThailand
  34. Timor-LesteTimor-Leste
  35. TurkmenistanTurkmenistan
  36. United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates
  37. UzbekistanUzbekistan
  38. VietnamVietnam
  39. YemenYemen

Know : World Trade Organization (WTO)

Brief Overview:

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

The result is assurance. Consumers and producers know that they can enjoy secure supplies and greater choice of the finished products, components, raw materials and services that they use. Producers and exporters know that foreign markets will remain open to them.

The result is also a more prosperous, peaceful and accountable economic world. Virtually all decisions in the WTO are taken by consensus among all member countries and they are ratified by members’ parliaments. Trade friction is channelled into the WTO’s dispute settlement process where the focus is on interpreting agreements and commitments, and how to ensure that countries’ trade policies conform with them. That way, the risk of disputes spilling over into political or military conflict is reduced.

By lowering trade barriers, the WTO’s system also breaks down other barriers between peoples and nations.

At the heart of the system — known as the multilateral trading system — are the WTO’s agreements, negotiated and signed by a large majority of the world’s trading nations, and ratified in their parliaments. These agreements are the legal ground-rules for international commerce. Essentially, they are contracts, guaranteeing member countries important trade rights. They also bind governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits to everybody’s benefit.

The agreements were negotiated and signed by governments. But their purpose is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

The goal is to improve the welfare of the peoples of the 159 member states.

   Members,
   Members, dually represented by the European Union
   Observers
   Non-members

The History : 

The World Trade Organization came into being in 1995. One of the youngest of the international organizations, the WTO is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in the wake of the Second World War. So while the WTO is still young, the multilateral trading system that was originally set up under GATT is well over 50 years old. (click here to read the complete history)

In 2000, new talks started on agriculture and services. These have now been incorporated into a broader agenda launched at the fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.

The work programme, the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), adds negotiations and other work on non-agricultural tariffs, trade and environment, WTO rules such as anti-dumping and subsidies, investment, competition policy, trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement, intellectual property, and a range of issues raised by developing countries as difficulties they face in implementing the present WTO agreements.

It does this by:
Administering trade agreements
Acting as a forum for trade negotiations
Settling trade disputes
Reviewing national trade policies
Assisting developing countries in trade policy issues, through technical assistance and training programmes
Cooperating with other international organizations

Organizational Structure

The WTO has about 150 members, accounting for about 95% of world trade. Around 30 others are negotiating membership.

Decisions are made by the entire membership. This is typically by consensus. A majority vote is also possible but it has never been used in the WTO, and was extremely rare under the WTO’s predecessor, GATT. The WTO’s agreements have been ratified in all members’ parliaments.

The WTO’s top level decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference which meets at least once every two years.

Below this is the General Council (normally ambassadors and heads of delegation in Geneva, but sometimes officials sent from members’ capitals) which meets several times a year in the Geneva headquarters. The General Council also meets as the Trade Policy Review Body and the Dispute Settlement Body.

At the next level, the Goods Council, Services Council and Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Council report to the General Council.

Numerous specialized committees, working groups and working parties deal with the individual agreements and other areas such as the environment, development, membership applications and regional trade agreements.

Secretariat

The WTO Secretariat, based in Geneva, has around 600 staff and is headed by a director-general (Roberto Azevêdo). Its annual budget is roughly 160 million Swiss francs. It does not have branch offices outside Geneva. Since decisions are taken by the members themselves, the Secretariat does not have the decision-making role that other inter-Secretariat, Genevanational bureaucracies are given.

The WTO agreements
How can you ensure that trade is as fair as possible, and as free as is practical? By negotiating rules and abiding by them. (Click here to read more about the WTO agreements)

The WTO is ‘rules-based’; its rules are negotiated agreements.

Overview: a navigational guide
Tariffs: more bindings and closer to zero
Agriculture: fairer markets for farmers
Standards and safety
Textiles: back in the mainstream
Services: rules for growth and investment
Intellectual property: protection and enforcement
Anti-dumping, subsidies, safeguards: contingencies, etc
Non-tariff barriers: red tape, etc
Plurilaterals: of minority interest
Trade policy reviews: ensuring transparency

10 benefits of the WTO trading system

From the money in our pockets and the goods and services that we use, to a more peaceful world — the WTO and the trading system offer a range of benefits, some well-known, others not so obvious.

1. The system helps promote peace
2. Disputes are handled constructively
3. Rules make life easier for all
4. Freer trade cuts the costs of living
5. It provides more choice of products and qualities
6. Trade raises incomes
7. Trade stimulates economic growth
8. The basic principles make life more efficient
9. Governments are shielded from lobbying
10. The system encourages good government

10 common misunderstandings about the WTO

Is it a dictatorial tool of the rich and powerful? Does it destroy jobs? Does it ignore the concerns of health, the environment and development?  Emphatically no. Criticisms of the WTO are often based on fundamental misunderstandings of the way the WTO works.

1. WTO dictates?
2. 
Blindly for trade?
3. 
Ignores development?
4. 
Anti-green?
5. 
Anti-health?
6. 
Wrecks jobs?
7. 
Small left out?
8. 
Tool of lobbies?
9. 
Weak forced to join?
10. 
Undemocratic?

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Courtesy and Source : www.wto.org, Wikipedia and Google

Know : PISA 2012 Students Survey Results 65 Countries

Participants

Participant Countries

PISA 2012 is the programme’s 5th survey. It assessed the competencies of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science (with a focus on mathematics) in 65 countries and economies.  (Note : INDIA is not a participant)

Around 510 000 students between the ages of 15 years 3 months and 16 years 2 months participated in the assessment, representing about 28 million 15-year-olds globally.

The students took a paper-based test that lasted 2 hours. (You can take the test ONLINE HERE. )The tests were a mixture of open-ended and multiple-choice questions that were organized in groups based on a passage setting out a real-life situation. A total of about 390 minutes of test items was covered.  Students took different combinations of different tests. They and their school principals also answered questionnaires to provide information about the students’ backgrounds, schools and learning experiences and about the broader school system and learning environment.

The OECD’s PISA 2012 tested students on maths, reading and science. The main focus was on maths. Math proficiency is a strong predictor of positive outcomes for young adults. It influences their ability to participate in post-secondary education and their expected future earnings.

Shanghai-China, and Singapore were top in maths, with students in Shanghai scoring the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries. Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Macao-China, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the Netherlands were also in the group of top-performing countries.

“With high levels of youth unemployment, rising inequality and a pressing need to boost growth in many countries, it’s more urgent than ever that young people learn the skills they need to succeed,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría during the launch in Washington D.C. “In a global economy, competitiveness and future job prospects will depend on what people can do with what they know. Young people are the future, so every country must do everything it can to improve its education system and the prospects of future generations.”

The survey reveals several features of the best education systems. Top performers, notably in Asia, place great emphasis on selecting and training teachers, encourage them to work together and prioritize investment in teacher quality, not classroom sizes. They also set clear targets and give teachers autonomy in the classroom to achieve them.

Children whose parents have high expectations perform better: they tend to try harder, have more confidence in their own ability and are more motivated to learn.

Of those 64 countries with trend data in maths up to 2012, 25 improved in maths, 25 showed no change and 14 did worse. Brazil, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Tunisia and Turkey have shown a consistent improvement over this period. Shanghai-China and Singapore improved on their already strong performance in 2009.Italy, Poland and Portugal also increased their share of top performers and reduced their share of low performers. Germany, Mexico and Turkey also managed to improve the performance of their weakest students, many of whom came from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This shows that countries can simultaneously improve equity and raise performance. You can compare your country with other as well previous year’s performances here. (Click this Link) ; The US Specific data here (Click the Link)

Giving every child the chance to succeed is essential, says the OECD. 23% of students in OECD countries, and 32% overall, failed to master the simplest math problems. Without these basic skills, they are most likely to leave school early and face a difficult future. Some countries have succeeded in helping underperformers: Colombia, Finland, Ireland, Germany, Mexico and Poland have put in place systems to identify and support struggling students and schools early, and have seen the PISA scores of this group increase.

Other key findings include:

Gender gap

Boys perform better than girls in maths. They scored higher in 37 out of the 65 countries and economies, while girls outperform boys in 5 countries. The gender gap is relatively small though; in only six countries is it greater than the equivalent of half a year of formal schooling.

The gap is widest among top students, still wide among the weakest students and about the same for average ones. Girls also feel less motivated to learn maths and have less confidence in their abilities than boys.

Between 2000 and 2012, the gender gap in reading performance – favouring girls – widened in 11 countries and economies. Boys and girls perform similarly in science.

Reading

Of the 64 countries and economies with comparable data up to 2012, 32 improved their reading performance, 22 show no change, and 10 deteriorated. Chile, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey improved their reading performance across successive assessments.

Across OECD countries, 8.4% of students are top performers in reading. Shanghai-China has the largest proportion of top performers – 25.1%. More than 15% of students in Hong Kong-China, Japan and Singapore are top performers in reading, as are more than 10% of students in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Korea, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway and Chinese Taipei.

Science

Shanghai-China, Hong Kong-China, Singapore, Japan and Finland are the top five performers in science in PISA 2012. Estonia, Korea, Viet Nam, Poland, Canada, Liechtenstein, Germany, Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands, Ireland, Australia, Macao-China, New Zealand, Switzerland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Belgium score above the OECD average in science.

Across OECD countries, 8.4% of students are top performers in science and score at the highest levels. This compares to more than 15% of students in Shanghai-China (27.2%), Singapore (22.7%), Japan (18.2%), Finland (17.1%) and Hong Kong China (16.7%).

Schools and students

High-performing school systems tend to allocate resources more equitably across socio economically advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

Teacher-student relations improved between 2003 and 2012 in all but one country, according to students’ reports. The disciplinary climate also improved during the period, on average across OECD countries and in 27 individual countries and economies.

A better teacher-student relations are strongly associated with greater student engagement with and at school.PISA 2012

The share of immigrant students in OECD countries increased from 9% in 2003 to 12% in 2012. Over this period, the performance disadvantage of immigrant students compared to students without an immigrant background but with similar socio-economic status shrank by 11 score points, equivalent to three months of schooling.

The OECD’s PISA results reveal what is possible in education by showing what students in the highest-performing and most rapidly improving education systems can do. The findings allow policy makers around the world to gauge the knowledge and skills of students in their own countries in comparison with those in other countries, set policy targets against measurable goals achieved by other education systems, and learn from the policies and practices applied elsewhere.

More Detailed Reports can be downloaded from their official website here

blog_pisa_2012

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Source and Courtesy : www.oecd.org

Know : How many countries can you travel without VISA? Complete list

Are you an Indian? Then you can travel to only 52 countries without a VISA. India stands behind 144 countries among the total of 199 countries.

Whereas 34 countries have the privilege to travel to more than 150 countries without a VISA. Citizens of Finland, Sweden and UK (Great Britain) enjoys the best privilege to travel 173 countries without a VISA, followed by Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, U.S.A which is not far behind as they are allowed in 172 countries as per the annual Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index which ranks countries according to the nations their citizens can access just using their passport.

Nine of the top 10 countries are EU members with only the USA breaking the European dominance by being placed joint second with Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg.

The index, which says that there are 219 countries in the world, indicates that EU membership is a vital factor for visa free movement. Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1995.

Passport holders from Afghanistan will encounter the most problems travelling abroad as they were ranked last in the list. Afghan citizens can only visit 28 countries without a visa placing them in 93rd place followed by Iraq (31 countries) and Pakistan and Somalia on 32 countries.

Russia was ranked 41st with 95 countries and a travel expert revealed there are loopholes in visiting the country. Many Swedes travel to Russia on cruise ships which depart from Stockholm without requiring a visa.

“Russian visas remain complex, but if you take a cruise to St Petersburg you can dodge the red tape. The same applies to the 72-hour stopover scheme just introduced by several major gateways to China,” said tour operator Neil Taylor to the Independent newspaper in Britain.

There are 71 countries in the world whose citizens with their passports are allowed to travel to 100 or more other countries without a VISA. To our surprise Russia ranks 41 in the list with the score of 95.  After 64th ranked country (Saudi Arabia) the no. of countries that can be travelled without VISA is getting fewer than the countries rank. In that way 82 countries are allowed to travel less than the ranks.

(Without VISA means you can get a VISA on arrival or as per the country’s norm, but can travel to reach the country without any VISA)

VISA

Courtesy,  Copyrights and Data Source : Henleyglobal

Note : This is shared for educational purposes only, (data source from Henleyglobal). For more details / study please reach Henleyglobal, who holds the complete credits for this highly informative data.